Shaningwa tells LPM to fight own battles …as LPM accuses Swapo of staging pistol affair

Andrew Kathindi

Swapo Party of Namibia Secretary General, Sophia Shaningwa, says the ruling party will not be drawn into a war of words with the Landless People’s Movement (LPM).

LPM Member of Parliament, Utaara Mootu on Friday, 23 July, claimed that an incident in which a security monitoring system at parliament is alleged to have picked up a gun in LPM’s lawyer, Patrick Kauta’s briefcase, was orchestrated by Swapo in a move of desperation to frame the LPM legal representatives. “Swapo is not going to fight other people’s battles. Let them fight their own battles and leave Swapo Party alone,” Shaningwa told Windhoek Observer.

Kauta was on his way to represent LMP Leader, Bernardus Swartbooi, and Chief Whip, Henny Seibeb, at a Powers and Privileges Committee hearing to discuss the events that transpired on 15 April after President Hage Geingob delivered his State of the Nation Address. Mootu claimed that Swapo tried to frame Kauta because he was representing LPM as a lawyer. “It has come as a shock to the nation on the ghost pistol that was allegedly in his bag according to the security check monitoring. However, as LPM, it has not come as a surprise because we have constantly been complaining to the media and security forces within Parliament on the security biasness and the threats on the security of the LPM members and the staff. But it has been falling on deaf ears,” she said.

She further stated, “But what is surprising is the desperation of the cabal ruling party, because we know it is Swapo that has done this, to frame a lawyer.”

In a letter to Parliament where they are asking for a full explanation of what happened by no later than Monday, 26 July, Kauta claims that he and fellow lawyer, Mercy Kuzeeko, were informed, by one of the police officers, that the security screening machine was reflecting that his court bag contained a pistol.

“Mr. Kauta emptied his court bag whilst it was still on the conveyer belt, but the security screening machine continued to show, on the computer, that there was a pistol in the bag. Both Mr. Kauta and the police officer were confounded by this impossibility,” the letter states.

Kauta further states that after that two male officers, in plain clothes, “materialized and one of them cryptically informed the confused police officer that he could let us go and he would explain to him later.”

Parliament’s Spokesperson, David Nahogandja, confirmed to Windhoek Observer that Parliament has received the letter but that he could not give more details until they respond to the letter from the LPM lawyers. “At the moment we can’t really comment on that as they wrote to us through their lawyers. Of course, their lawyer is the one that was here whose bag was suspected to have something, so he definitely knows what happened on the day. As it stands we are preparing a response to their letter,” he says.

In a statement released late Friday afternoon, parliament said that the allegations from LPM are “void of any truth.”

“We are alarmed by the fact that Mr. Kauta and Ms. Kuzeeko from the above-mentioned law firm, did not take the opportunity to raise the matter when they appeared before the Committee of Privileges on Tuesday 20 July 2021.”

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